Turkey is experiencing a wave of terror violence, linked to the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). These two non-state actors are also at war inside Syria, where the PKK’s Syrian affiliate, the PYD, is currently waging an effective offensive to take territory from ISIL in northern and eastern Syria. What can we learn from the PKK’s tactics, the Turkish military’s response, and the implications of the new Kurdish insurgency in Turkey?
Kurdish Suicide Attackers: SVBIED Threat to Ankara
On March 13, two suicide bombers affiliated with the Kurdistan Freedom Falcons (TAK), female Seher Cağla Demir and male accomplice Özgür Ünsal, detonated a car bomb next to a crowded bus stop in Ankara’s Kızılay neighborhood. The attack killed 37 civilians and injured more than one hundred. The Turkish government said that the bomb is similar if not identical to the one used in a February 2016 attack in the same neighborhood. In the February attack, Abdülbaki Sömer, an ethnic Kurd from Van, detonated a similar car bomb just outside the Turkish Air Force Building as staffers and family members were boarding shuttle busses for the commute home. The blast killed 28. The TAK took credit for the bombing, claiming that it was in retaliation for imposition of a 24-hour curfew and security operations in Cizre, Turkey.
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Image courtesy of Reuters